Dear Daily Mail

This is a short note to the people who work at the Daily Mail.

A couple of personal facts by way of introduction:

For more than twenty-five years, I have served as an officer with the Metropolitan Police. And I am incredibly proud of that fact. It has been – and it remains – my duty and my joy.

For the past four years and eight months, I have taken anti-depressant medication at the start of every day. And I am not remotely ashamed of that fact. It’s a part of who I am.

I don’t read your newspaper, but it’s been difficult to avoid your front pages in recent days. It’s apparent that you don’t think much of people like me: people who stand on thin blue lines; people who might need a helping hand to get through the day.

So I wanted to say a handful of things by way of a response. Starting with the job I do.

Policing is entirely imperfect. Individually and collectively, we get things wrong every single day – sometimes devastatingly so. But I work with heroes.

I work with people who save lives.

I work with people who don’t hesitate when help is needed.

I work with people who place themselves in harm’s way in defence of complete strangers.

I work with people who have been seriously injured in the line of duty: people who have been shot; people who have been stabbed; people who have been beaten unconscious. Simply for doing their duty.

I work with people who go where most wouldn’t and do what most couldn’t.

I work with people who make critical, life-or-death, decisions in fractions of seconds – without anything approaching a full set of facts or the glorious benefits of hindsight.

I work with people who have paid the greatest price of all.

I work with heroes: entirely imperfect, bloody heroes.

And I don’t see their stories being told on the cover of your newspaper.

As we head into 2018, policing in this country is operating under greater strain than at any point since the end of the Second World War. Crime is rising. Demand is growing. Complexity is increasing. Resources are falling. And everything can’t be a priority.

Throwing stones is easy. It’s a little more difficult to step into the arena.

Pointing fingers is easy. It’s a little more difficult to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.

Finding fault is easy. It’s a little more difficult to find answers. And to be part of those answers.

Tearing down is easy. It’s a little more difficult – and it just takes a little more time – to build things up.

We need to do the things that are more difficult.

But I’m not just the job I do. I’m a thousand other things besides.

And, like countless others, I fight my battles with depression.

Depression is not the same as sadness. In fact, sadness is to depression as a puddle is to the Pacific. It is a thing of raw horror and blind terror – a water-boarding of the mind. It could happen to any of us.

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

In a world that is endlessly troubling, one of the few positive developments of recent times has been the emergence of a much more open and compassionate conversation about mental ill health: a conversation that is not well-served by lazy headlines about happy pills.

Judgement is easy. Compassion is a little more difficult.

Hating is easy. Understanding is a little more difficult.

Isolating is easy. Connecting is a little more difficult.

Blaming those who suffer is easy. Loving them is a little more difficult.

Putting up walls is easy. Building bridges is a little more difficult.

And we need to do the things that are more difficult.

Daily Mail Front Cover - Dec 2017














57 thoughts on “Dear Daily Mail

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  1. Thank you so much for raising these issues. Mental health is as important as physical health. No one would lambast you for having a broken leg or cancer. It’s the strong ones, the coppers, the diligent people who can be relied upon who often suffer depression and breakdowns. We are all human but somehow our current society, including parliament and the police complaints commission think we should be super human.
    Hope you and colleagues have a peaceful New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope the editor’s of these ghastly newspapers hang their heads in shame if/when they read your words.
    Mental health issues are as real as any illness, but certain jobs, certain life issues can enhance depression and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, what is to be ashamed of is a government who shows no empathy to the people it is crippling.
    The Police Officers who face danger head on, who see carnage on our roads, who have to go to sudden deaths be it natural or suicide, who have to knock on someone’s door to tell them a loved one isn’t coming home. These are just some of the things that make the job of a police officer difficult (if that’s the right word) These are just some of the things that set police officers above the rest. I will also add to this Fire Rescue, Paramedics Nurses and Drs.
    I have the utmost respect for any of the above as they do a job that most, especially politicians couldn’t.
    All media now has become what I term as gutter press and sadly this gutter press can make or break a person.
    I wish you well for 2018 and I THANK YOU for everything you and other Officers throughout the country do for the people of this country.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your stance is a sound one – although clearly not one to make the headlines, but then a policeman with a broken leg or cancer (see Sue K’s comment) wouldn’t either. I am glad you have taken on the newspaper for even their use of the phrase ‘happy pills’ is an indication of their lack of understanding of the situation so many people of all walks of life face. Happy pills indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. An excellent article so sad that it needed to be written, so sad that an odious article such as this is still being written. I hope that those who read these Daily Mail words conclude that they are wrong. Thank you for writing this blog I hope many read it and are thereby accurately informded.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I also take tablets every day for my mental health. My family inside and outside the job keep me going. I retire next month, a bit early, but I can no longer work to my full extent.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A heartfelt, ‘Thank you’; for saying what you have, sharing who you are and doing what you do. The country would fall apart without people like you and be a better place without the trash, sensationalism and often hurtful stuff printed in the Daily Mail.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I too get fed up with the police bashing dished out by the Daily Mail.

    I left after 20 years because of a critical incident that affected me and other colleagues.

    Thank you for raising this difficult subject!

    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Im an ex-soldier, ex-prison officer and ex-PSNI officer. I have PTSD from my service days and I take antidepressants and an antipsychotic. Thank you so much for highlighting the struggle we faced on the thin blue/green line.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A superb response to that awful article. I suffered years ago and was diagnosed with PTSD and even today I occasionally feel that dark cloud coming back. The person who wrote that article should be ashamed and has no understanding of the condition and like all emergency service personnel who go where others fear to tread he or she would not sitting in there nice safe office making ill infrmed comments. HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME DAILY MAIL.


  10. A superb response to that awful article. I suffered years ago and was diagnosed with PTSD and even today I occasionally feel that dark cloud coming back. The person who wrote that article should be ashamed and has no understanding of the condition and like all emergency service personnel who go where others fear to tread he or she would be sitting in there nice safe office making ill infrmed comments. HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME DAILY MAIL.


  11. We need to think about how the jaundiced, bigoted society-wrecking output of the Daily Mail is increasing difficulty and depression in Britain. The psychopathic lack of responsibility of this tax-dodging, Nazi sympathizing rag must be stopped. What the hell is their motivation…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As someone who has experienced several bouts of depression and lives daily with its continuing nagging presence, I salute you and thank for what you said and for the way you said it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing your truth – to which countless others can connect.
    It’s a sense of disconnect that The Daily Mail excel at.
    They won’t have the capacity to respond….connection with truth is just beyond their grasp.
    I applaud you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a devastating & heartfelt critique of the Daily Mail approach to journalism! The truth is, this paper & the people it represents & appeals to have no time for, nor understanding of, any & all public sector workers: the people like you who keep this country going. Nor do they understand the lives of the poor, homeless,unemployed, physically & mentally-challenged, young, diverse population that are the true strength of our humanity.
    Keep going my friend”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What an amazing person you are. I would have loved to write something v similar but lacked the courage. Anti depressants can help people to live with an imbalance of seratonin and enable them to take on jobs that few others dare to try. You are a true hero.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I like you have taken antidepressants for 20 years and I agree that the DM is well out of order calling them “happy pills ” One point I think is missed ,is that CBT and talking therapies can achieve as much good as SSRIs etc. It is sad that there is little funding for this ,I believe more CBT would lead to less prescribed meds ,sadly it is the only fix hard pressed GPs have. Great article of yours and if someone like you can be brave and admit you take them it helps de stigmatise mental health issues. I wish you a safe 2018.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. The Daily Mail sneers, mocks and attempts to shame so many of us in Britain. In the last year they have run hate-filled articles aimed at: anyone claiming disability benefits; muslims; the judiciary; anyone daring to suggest that Brexit is not going smoothly; anyone who voted Liberal Democrat, Labour or Green; single parents; football fans; Junior Doctors; anyone from the North of England; and countless bodyshaming articles against women in the public eye. Basically, the Daily Mail hates pretty much all of us. I wear my “hated by the Daily Mail” badge with pride.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sir,

    If you were not so desperately needed in your present position, I’d definitely suggest that you serve as a politician.

    God knows we need people of your calibre as leaders in this country.

    Take care of yourself and your charges.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great words, we don’t think of our police as people who would need help like this, but sadly they like the rest of us are only human, and as for the daily fail, this rag needs ended, does anyone actually buy this rubbish any more?
    I certainly don’t know anyone who buys it, and wouldn’t associate myself with anyone who does!


  19. I agree. Heroes come in many forms and you are one on two accounts. One for the job that you do and the other for speaking up for people who do not have a voice. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Well said! The daily mail is the devil’s toilet paper. The greatest worry is the phenomenal amount of people that believe what the daily mail prints. They can’t see how they are being manipulated by evil people

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s the Daily sodding Mail – about as sympathetic as one of their late poster boy’s air raids. Yes – tearing down is far harder that building up, e.g. Brexit. But do you really think that an offshore newspaper (One that is technically not based in the UK) gives a crap? Remember when they sneered at the war hero that was father to the then Labour leader? No mention of their then owner hiding in Canada – no mention of their support for the Nazis. Let’s hope that there will be a reckoning when their lies and distortions come back to haunt them.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Reblogged this on SallyP and commented:
    Reblogging because I am fed up with the Daily Mail’s prejudices against so many things – now those who are unlucky enough to have a depressive illness are in their firing line. Ill-informed is one of the milder responses which come to mind on reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you very much for sharing your experience; it’s a heartfelt example of how the vast majority of police and the rest of the public entire work, doing their best to keep others safe whilst experiencing day to day ridicule and disrespect from a minority which influences many more. Thank you so much for all that you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Superb response to a feckless headline grabbing story that bears absolutely no comparison to the job you do every day, if only the people who slate the police the most spent one day in their shoes, in one shift you could have dealt with a baby cot death, a fatal accident, a 94 year old lady having had all her jewellery including her engagement and wedding rings being stolen in a burglary, getting assaulted trying to arrest a shoplifter, then having to complete all the paperwork before you go home and find your whole family are sleeping and you eat your dinner and get 4/5 hours sleep before you return to start all over again, but your welcome british public.
    Wishing everybody in every emergency service whatever role you play a very happy 2018 and please never lose sight of the reality that you are highly appreciated and respected by the great majority of the citizens you serve.
    Thank you to everyone of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. They don’t make you “happy”. They are not meant for recreation. The best case scenario is that they enable you to function somewhat normally. For most of us who suffer PTSD, anxiety or depression, without some form of medical help we would hide in our beds in darkness, afraid to face the day; our heads filled with dark thoughts and despair.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. To live a life that makes a positive difference to so many is a wonderful thing, to do so despite constantly witnessing and experiencing the very human cost both physical and mental, is nothing short of miraculous. You and your colleagues are very much appreciated.

    To all those suffering from depression and other mental health issues, you are valued and loved by those of us who can see beyond a cheap headline.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi, as someone whose wife has just been diagnosed with severe depression your words struck a chord. It’s changed her – made her say and do things she would never have done – and that’s tough, sometimes. Thanks for speaking out and calling these pricks out. Keep on getting up every day and take it one day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Who exactly is Ben Spencer, Medical Correspondent of the Daily Mail?
    The writers of front page rants for the Daily Mail and similar papers are mostly people with invisible public profiles about whom we know nothing except that for 30 pieces of silver they are prepared to spew out the sort of rubbish that passes muster with the odious editor of the Mail. And he himself mostly hides behind a cloak of anonymity and in turn is the sort of person who appeals to the non-dom multimillionaire owner of the Mail stable who lurks like some malignant Wizard of Oz.
    They don’t truly speak for any of us. Their opinions are likely to be of considerably less value that the average conscientious and kind person one knows through work or one’s social life. It amazes me how they manage to keep so many readers in thrall to their Daily Bile.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. The mere fact is that these pills are a crutch, this crutch was given to my mother who then relied on them, the longer term outcome was that they gave her memory loss, dizziness, forgetfulness etc etc, she is now off them and eats and pursues a healthy lifestyle, We are a nation being led to believe that pills are the only way, this is not true, it has been shown many times that some foods can trigger physical and mental problems, but it is a minefield you have to be prepared to put in the time and effort for your own good health


  30. Your support is valued Thank you for ALL people with depression and emergency services personel who willingly place themselves where “reporters” and keyboard warriors fear to tread.. I have PTSD from a variety of awfulness faced in the name of duty. I have the support of medication. Even then, some days are impassable.
    I don’t want thanks .. I chose my role.
    I don’t want pity .. not needed.
    I don’t want recognition. I have had it,
    Also, I don’t want ridicule, shame or the venom spat by the DM. I loathe that rag.
    My daughter has 8 years in policing.
    I will not state the full details of the gross awfulness of what she has personally faced as many are too distressing.
    But they include fighting for survival when attacked with a screwdriver; “taking out” a youth armed with a knife who had evaded armed officers; dealing with death and very serious offences, the victims and their families. She is overburdened investigating hate crimes and Domestic Abuse and Violence. Doesn’t get time for a meal. Works extra hours sometimes without payment (Welcome to T May’s World of Cuts).
    We had planned to meet up yesterday, but an attempted murder meant her duties were necessarily changed at a moments notice and our arrangements cancelled.
    How I so hate that vile publication, its lazy “journalism” and fascist-feeding lies and prejudice.


  31. I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. I thought we, as a society, had really come a long way with some of the stigma having been worked on and dropped over the years. Clearly, the Daily Mail seeks to undo all that good work by a good many good people. It is a hateful rag with which I would not wipe my derriere.


  32. What a brilliant message, thank you for it. Mental health issues are often overlooked or misunderstood, there is not enough done to help people with such issues – not enough beds, not enough staff, not enough experts. The police have lost staff through cuts too, and this must make things so much harder for you and your officers – too much stress, too many cuts, not enough support. Thank you (and all officers) for doing such a difficult job under far too much pressure. What would we do without you!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. What more could anyone expect from these vile cowardly reptiles who have the nerve to call themselves journalists?
    In recent days they have been doorstepping and harassing a young woman and her family who just happens to hold different political views from the foul-mouthed Dacre. They have also slandered and ruined the business of another young woman by the same cowardly tactics. They do this because they know these people have not often got the resources to sue them. They will carry on doing this all the while they have a compliant government and BBC who don’t take them to task. As for this headline, I also have suffered from depression for many years and endorse all of the policeman’s comments


  34. Pingback: Happy Pills |

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